Hood River windsurfing gurus Bruce Peterson and Dale Cook sailed their way to superstardom over Memorial Day weekend, each winning national championships at the 2002 U.S. Open regatta held in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Peterson won the Master’s class (over 35 years-old), while Cook, 24, mastered the Open class against a field of 92 world-class racers. The victories held even more prestige since the U.S. Open was designated as the U.S. National Championship event for 2002.
Both Peterson and Cook surpassed their performances at the 2001 U.S. Windsurfing Nationals, held in Hood River, and felt like they made a statement.
“We have this on-going rivalry with some guys down in San Francisco,” said Peterson, who finished fourth in 2001. “And we left them in the dust this year.
“It was really encouraging to come away with the titles, because the competition was maybe even a notch higher this year. It was really good to see Dale keep up with all the pros as well,” he said.
Peterson, the Sailworks owner and industry innovator who also won Master’s Class at the Midwinter’s Festival in Florida in March, used a series production board designed by Robert Mulder out of Vancouver, B.C.
Cook, who took second at Nationals last year, but fell off the pace slightly at the Midwinter’s Festival, used a custom-built board and showed the rest of the field that his performance in March was merely an aberration.
“Dale is really coming on lately,” Peterson said. “He had some difficulties in Florida, but he really picked up the pace in Texas. We train together continuously, so it was great to see him running at the front of the pack.”
The U.S. Windsurfing National Race Series will blow through Hood River on Aug. 10-11. The local racing series resumes this Saturday with Gorge Cup race No. 3 at the Event Site.
For more information, contact the Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association at 386-9225.